Cerebral Palsy is a comprehensive term that includes different types of conditions. It refers to many factors causing injury to brain and non-progressive central motor functional problem. Severe patients usually show symptoms of lower intelligence, spastic limbs, visual and hearing impairment as well as speech impediment.
Even though cerebral palsy is caused by fixed damage, incorrect treatment will cause a dramatic deterioration in illness.
Etiology of the Disease
Antenatal factors: growth problem, intrauterine infection, lower abdomen radiation during pregnancy, intrauterine asphyxia,
Birth-process factors: asphyxia, birth trauma, premature delivery
Postnatal factors: Kernicterus, asphyxia, infection, trauma, bleeding, vascular insult Antenatal change is mainly due to maldevelopment of brain, may also be hydrocephalus, brain damage or deformity. Prenatal changes are mainly scar, sclerosis, partial atrophy and defect in cerebral cortex. Asphyxia and cerebral hemorrhage can cause damages in cerebral cortex; it is the main cause of cerebral palsy. Brain damages and damages in cerebral cortex can lead to different level of cerebral atrophy. Either disseminating encephalopathic change or damage of cerebral cortex due to cerebral edema before or after birth can cause scar, sclerosis or resulting in partial brain atrophy. Maldevelopment of cortex or brain deformity will cause defect in cerebral cortex, these are the basic pathology.
Symptoms usually occurred in infancy. There are totally six types of motor problem, and the common four types are:
1. Spastic diplegia; the most common cerebral palsy. Motor problem in both lower limbs is more serious than the upper limbs. Slow motor development includes sitting, standing, walking, severe patient is unable to walk. Tightening of muscle, walk in scissoring gait, eye ball movement problem, poor language and intelligence ability, with normal electro- ncephalogram. Patients are always premature baby with birth weight under 2000 g.
2. Hemiplegic: caused by damage in unilateral. Upper limbs movement problem is more serious than lower limbs. Hypertonia, flexed and peronated upper limb, elbow, thumb and finger have flexion deformity, walk in circulated gait. Some kids have epilepsy and intelligence developmental retardation.
3. Spastic tetraplegia with choreoathetosis: both upper limbs have more severe motor functional problems than lower limbs, damage in nervous system. Hypertonia, athetosis or dyskinesia. Damage in cerebellum, presented with nystagmus, coordination disorder in body and limbs, complication to mental retardation, pseudo- bulbar palsy. Injury in frontal or occipital lobes can cause patient difficult eye ball movement. There is a significant motor function developmental delay, even some cannot walk. Approximately 50% of them will have epilepsy with spasm occurred.
4. Choreoathetosis or dyskinestic cerebral palsy: various level of choreoathetosis found in face, tongue, lip and body, children below 1 year old will have hypotonia; kids have choreoathetosis movement from time to time after 1 year old, 50% were originated from kevincterus, 50% were originated from neonatal asphyxia. If it was caused by kevincterus, pyramidal signs were not obvious; if it was caused by neonatal asphyxia, pyramidal signs were observed. Mental development delay and epilepsy was mostly found in newborn infants.
Treatments for cerebral palsy
Although common treatment method is applied in curing cerebral palsy, existing medical technique still cannot fully cure the disease. However, with appropriate treatment, patients still can have great improvement in their conditions and a good quality of life.
Cerebral palsy treatment is mainly carried out by comprehensive cooperation of doctors (paediatric neurologist, neurologist, orthopedics), physiotherapy, occupational therapist and orthostherapist, etc.
In general, there are several treatments for cerebral palsy. Each patient requires different treatment from time to time and it requires experienced doctors and team members to decide and implement.
- Occupational therapy
- Seating aids
- Walking aids
- Botulinum Toxin
- Nerve block
- Selective dorsal rhizotomy
- Orthopaedic surgery
Though there are certain ways to choose and use in curing cerebral palsy, each shouldn’t be counted as an individual method, those should be applied and seen as combined treatment upon patient needs.
Tongue acupuncture brings hope to patients with cerebral palsy
Throughout the years of research and clinical observation of cerebral palsy, a newly tongue acupuncture treatment system was formed.
The new discovery of sublingual swelling in cerebral palsy is an important clinical statistics and objective standard of tongue acupuncture treatment for cerebral palsy. Though the relationship between sublingual swelling and cerebral palsy is still unknown, its existence is a fact. 96.64% of 1728 kids suffered from brain disorders (including cerebral palsy, autism, intelligency disability) has sublingual swelling. Sublingual swelling and the severity level has direct relationship, the more obvious of sublingual swelling, the more severe level of illness is. With tongue acupuncture treatment and improvement in patient’s condition, sublingual swelling shrinks or becomes normal. It is the first time in the world discovered the correlation between sublingual swelling and brain diseases (refer to figures below).
Scientific research achievements on tongue acupuncture in cerebral palsy
P.E.T scan is the most advanced medical diagnosis equipment in the world. Cerebral glucose metabolism rate is the main observation in tongue acupuncture for research on patients with cerebral palsy. 95%-99% brain energy comes from glucose, the experience proved that the patients’ cerebral glucose metabolism was increased after treatment and therefore the recovery probability is higher. Some studies had been carried out jointly with Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital and the research results were:
A girl with cerebral palsy, 4-year-old, was born by caesarean section at 28 weeks of gestational age, premature twins. She developed perinatal asphyxia, spastic tetraplegia and moderate mental retardation.
1. Clinical observation
Global delay development. There are problems in her motion, eating, chewing, swallowing, as well as mental retardation and poor speech ability.
2. P.E.T. scan before treatment (refer to Fig.6-1)
(I) cerebral glucose metabolism rate reduced, asymmetric in left & right atmospheres of the brain that the left one is bigger.
(II) At the motor area of left temporal lobe, there was decrease in glucose metabolism. As the damaged atmosphere can affect patient’s clinical function, that explained why her motion and senses are weak.
3. Observational Changes after tongue acupuncture (refer to fig. 6-2)
(I) There was a general 24.4% improvement in cerebral metabolism.
(II) The improvement in function appeared to be noticeable on the left, which was the worse side previously.
(III) Improvement was seen in the superior frontal, premotor, area 44 (frontal operculum), precuneus, occipital, visual, and primary auditory cortices.
(IV) There was also improvement seen in the metabolic function of the lentiform nucleus and cerebellum.
(V) After 38 sessions of tongue acupuncture, patient’s right side performed more movement, can turn over by herself, cognition is better, start liking watching TV and know to show parents to pick her favorite programs. Moreover, improvement was also found in squinting, reaching out for objects with her upper limbs, and increased vocalization.
We also had used one of the most advanced medical devices, fMRI, to observe the changes after tongue acupuncture in children with cerebral palsy. Changes in brain motor areas after the treatment strongly proved its scientific and functionality of tongue acupuncture. The following case is a coordinated study with St. Paul’s hospital in Hong Kong
Girl, 8-year-old, perinatal asphyxia, diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy. She was bad in right side of the body, quiver in hands, unable to hold small objects, spastic feet, drag-walk and walked with slow.
Observation of fMRI scans
I) Before treatment, weak signal on her right hand (left brain) was performed. (refer Fig. 7-1); but the signal was found significant stronger after treatment. (refer to Fig. 7-2)
II) Before treatment, fMRI signal was weak on right foot (refer to Fig. 7-3); but stronger fMRI signal could be found on right foot after treatment. (refer to Fig. 7-4)
III) After 40 sessions of tongue acupuncture, patient’s hands got much better and had no long quiver, even could put small food in mouth. Improvement was also find in lower limbs---faster walking, easier squatting down and more flexible muscle.
Advantages of Tongue Acupuncture
In view of tongue acupuncture on the research of cerebral palsy, it has its privilege advantage over other treatments.
1. Immediate effect: quick relief in neck, lower back, hand and feet pains. 90% of the patients can improve their conditions after 20 sessions.
2. Safe without side effect: the treatment procedure is short enough that requires just a few seconds and patients can easily accept.
3. Different degree of improvements in scissor gait, tip-toeing, inversion of foot of spastic neurological parlays.
The researches of children with cerebral palsy generally use the international western medicine standard rules (randomized double blind cohort study). Parts of the research articles have been published in The Journal of Child Neurology (Canada) and The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (UK), as well as kept in the National Library of Medicine (USA).